This Day In History: 1723-03-30


Filippo Bonanni (1638 – 1723) died on this day.
He was an Italian Jesuit scholar and naturalist, considered a founder of conchology; a pupil of Athanasius Kircher, whom he succeeded as teacher of mathematics at the Collegium Romanum (1680). After Kircher’s death in 1698, Bonanni was appointed curator of the cabinet of curiosities gathered by Kircher, publishing a catalogue of the collection, Musæum Kicherianum (1709). Bonanni created the earliest practical illustrated guide for shell collectors, Recreatione dell’occhio e della mente … (1681), the first published work devoted entirely to molluscs and significant for his careful attempts to precisely describe shell morphology. Although his work predated Linnaeus’ system of binomial nomenclature Bonanni laid the foundation for the new discipline of conchology, several later Linnaean names were based on his work including the name of the class Bivalvia which he introduced.